The spring VHT International and Horse Trials kicked off today at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia. The FEI classes, Advanced/Intermediate, Intermediate, and Preliminary levels began their competition with all three phases of eventing running concurrently.
Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras took the early lead in the CCI3*-S, earning a score of 26.0 in dressage, and holding their top position following a double-clear trip around Chris Barnard’s show jumping track.
Kieffer is delighted with the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, who was recovering from a minor injury for much of the 2018 competition season.
“He’s come out at a different level than when he was last competing,” Kieffer said. “Because he’s young, we took longer and erred on the side of caution [bringing him back]. I think in the long run it actually did the horse a lot of good. He’s come back really strong, really straight, and a lot more mature.”
D.A. Duras returned to competing in Ocala this April and most recently finished third at the Jersey Fresh International CCI4*-S. Their plan is to head up to Canada to compete at the MARS Equestrian Bromont CCI4*-L in June.
“We’ll let him go his own pace tomorrow,” Kieffer said. “The course looks nice. It will be a good fitness run — it’s pretty much all uphill.”
Close behind in second place is Phillip Dutton with Fernhill Revelation. They sit on a two-phase score of 26.3. Kimmy Cecere and Landmark’s Monaco are in hot pursuit on 29.9.
The CCI2*-L is making its debut here at the spring VHT International. Topping the division after the first phase is Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way with a score of 22.0. Doug Payne and Baymax are second with 25.5 while Arden Wildasin and Southern Sun lie third with a 26.4.
Dutton leads the way in the CCI2*-S riding Get Ready Get Set on a two-phase score of 29.7. They are followed by Laura Welsh and Toute Va Bien in second (31.1) and Emily Beshear and Templewood third (31.4).
The lower levels will begin their competition Saturday while the FEI classes take to the cross-country courses designed by Andy Bowles and John Michael Durr.
Virginia Horse Trials is pleased to welcome a record number of entries for the spring event, with about 440 horse and rider combinations. There was also an increase in the FEI entrants with the addition of the CCI2*-L to the schedule.
“I’d like to thank people for choosing to come to Virginia Horse Trials. There are a lot of events on the calendar, and we appreciate that they save a place for us on their schedule,” Organizer Andy Bowles said. “Our aim is to focus on rider and horse experience at every level, whether they are amateurs and professionals. We want them to go home having had a positive experience and look forward to coming back.”
Like many other things this year, the annual summer meeting of the USEA Board of Governors looked very different in 2020. The 21 Governors spent two days meeting virtually from their homes around the country. This was USEA President Max Corcoran’s first August board meeting at the helm and she opened the call by thanking the Board for their time so far this year as conference calls have been frequent.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
“Health and happiness through our love of horses, that’s our mission.” Four-star event rider Emily Hamel and FEI groom Tyler Held are committed to comprehensive enhancements for the equestrian community through their shared passion for learning, positive mindset, fitness, nutrition, and, of course, horses.
It's been a long road, but we've finally arrived at the end! In June of 2017, the USEA undertook a project - to tell the story of each of the currently active USEA recognized events, starting at the beginning of the alphabet and working our way all the way through to the end. Now, more than three years later, we've reached the final event on our list.